Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory: West Coast Environmental Law issued the following statement regarding today’s release by the Auditor General of her report Managing the Cumulative Effects of Natural Resource Development in BC.
“West Coast Environmental Law concurs with the Auditor General’s finding that that the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FNLRO) is not effectively considering or addressing cumulative effects in its decision-making in northwestern BC.
The failure of the Province to effectively manage the cumulative effects of resource development has a human as well as an environmental cost- a cost that is born disproportionately by residents of northern communities. Along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research, we recently cohosted a series of eight dialogue sessions on Cumulative Effects in communities across the North, from Prince Rupert to Fort St John. Overwhelmingly, we heard from participants from diverse backgrounds and professions that people feel alienated from environmental decision-making processes and concerned and anxious about the rapid pace and scale of development that is occurring in their communities, particularly with respect to proposed liquefied natural gas development.
There is a hunger amongst citizens in the north to be involved in decisions that affect their future and impact on the values they care about most. In a recently concluded two year research project that we undertook on best practices of regional strategic environmental assessment, we found that the resilience and legitimacy of decisions are enhanced through robust stakeholder and community participation, and that viable models for collaborative management with First Nations exist. As the Auditor General’s report suggests, it is critical that the Province begin to more effectively assess the cumulative effects of resource development and their impact on community well-being. We urge them to do so in collaboration with First Nations, communities and civil society groups, drawing on the best available science and Indigenous knowledge.”
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For more information contact:
Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law,
Hannah Askew, Staff Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law,
604-684-7378, ext 218